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What Can & Cannot Go Down the Drain


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Have you given your drains any thought recently? If you’re like most homeowners, chances are you simply send the water down and don’t give it a second thought. Yet drains perform an important function in your home, and they need a little attention to keep them working properly. Otherwise, you can end up with a difficult clog, leaving you with backed-up or slow-moving drains. Here’s a closer look at some do’s and don’ts of taking care of your drains.

Can You Pour Alcohol Down the Drain?

Whether you’re cleaning up after a party from last night or simply pouring out a beer in disgust, a lot of alcohol gets poured down our sink pipes at an alarmingly high rate. For the most part, it is OK. If the substance is at a concentration of less than 24%, then no harm should come to your septic system or the environment. Only when the concentration is higher should you discard the alcohol differently. Check the concentration of the substance, and follow the rules.

As a rule of thumb, you can pour around two bottles of alcohol down the drain without hurting your septic system or the environment. Try pacing the number of bottles you pour daily when you need to discard more than two bottles.

Can You Pour Grease & Oil Down the Drain?

Overall, grease isn’t good for your drains. Most of us know grease or oils are bad for the system, but many are unaware that if the concentration is below 500 milligrams, it is OK. The excess grease or oil should be disposed of in the normal trash when the concentration is higher than this. Do not put it down the pipe, or your pipes are at risk of clogging.

Can You Put Eggshells & Coffee Grinds Down the Drain?

We put these two together since they are often seen at breakfast. People often ask if it’s OK to put their leftover breakfast food down the sink. The answer is absolutely never. You might get away with it once, but chances are you won’t. These things are not good for the system and can cause backups, overflows, and other nasty problems that will have us at your doorstep more often than you want.

Can You Pour Paint Down the Drain?

Have you ever finished painting a room and wondered what to do with the leftover paint? Here’s the deal: Pouring paint down your drain harms your pipes and the environment. This includes both latex- and oil-based paint. 

So, how do you get rid of old paint?

  • Never pour paint down your drain, toilet, or into the street.
  • If you have a small amount of paint left, save it for touchups or paint a scrap piece of wood until the paint is all gone.
  • Add a solvent to your paints to dissolve them, making the cans safer to throw away.
  • Open the paint can lid to dry out latex paint. Add cat litter to absorb it if you have a large amount of paint.
  • Donate it to a community center, theater group, or school, or check with your local Buy Nothing group.
  • Drop your old paint off at a hazardous waste collection site near you.
  • Find a paint recycling program in your area.

For Drain Services, Trust the Mattioni Team

If you have made any of these drain care mistakes, or if you notice that your drains are running slowly, the Mattioni Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. team is ready to assist. We have licensed plumbers with the right tools to inspect your drains, including camera inspections, to find the root of the problem. We can easily address the problem with visual evidence and provide a workable repair solution.

Call 610-400-8510 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about Mattioni’s drain cleaning and inspection services.

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